When Alex Smith's status changed for Monday night's game, so did the San Francisco 49ers' chances of defeating the Chicago Bears.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN tweeted on Monday:
Alex Smith will not play tonight for 49ers, unable to get clearance from neurologist after suffering concussion last week, per sources.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) November 19, 2012
Plain and simple, Jason Campbell is greater than Colin Kaepernick, especially considering the Bears will likely limit Kaepernick on the ground.
Supporters of Kaepernick will claim that he led the 49ers to 17 fourth-quarter points against the St. Louis Rams last week and that his running ability makes him a threat.
But while Kaepernick rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown on eight carries against the Rams, the Bears have a better run defense than the Rams now, and that is what matters.
While the Rams have allowed 4.1 yards per carry this season and the Bears have allowed 4.2 yards per carry, St. Louis has also allowed 12 rushing touchdowns while Chicago has allowed two (second-best in the NFL).
Also, the Rams' yardage per carry allowed is a bit misleading. Since Week 4, they have stopped the run against the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers and New York Jets. Then again, these teams are ranked in the bottom eight in yards per carry this season.
On the other hand, the Rams were bulldozed by Marshawn Lynch in Week 4, Stevan Ridley in Week 8 and Kaepernick and Frank Gore in Week 10.
Get my drift?
As for the Bears, while they gave up 102 rushing yards to Arian Foster last week, Foster also averaged just 3.5 yards per carry.
The point is, the Bears should be able to limit Kaepernick on the ground, which means the untested second-year pro will have to do damage through the air for the 49ers to come away with the victory.
Who will win on Monday night?
Chicago has been excellent against the pass this season, allowing 6.1 yards per attempt (fourth in the NFL) while ceding eight passing touchdowns and racking up 19 interceptions (most in the league).
In his most extensive work to date, Kaepernick averaged 6.9 yards per pass attempt against the Rams last week. Now he has to somehow lead the 49ers over a Bears squad that made Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub look silly in Week 10.
You take away Kaepernick's rushing ability and you have a below average quarterback. That won't be enough to defeat the Bears in San Francisco.